Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Club-Wonder by R.J. Polacio

I will just start by saying that this is definitely a book for a younger, elementary school age, reader, but it has a great message for everybody. 

Wonder is about a boy named August Pullman. August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

The character who is best developed is the main character August. During the book you really do get to see how extraordinary he really is. August tells his story with surprising maturity. August is a kid who has dealt cruelty his entire life. People never know how to act around him. They avert their eyes to avoid staring at him and some are even afraid to look at him and touch him,. Some can be just plain mean and unkind. However,  August is able get through his first year of school with strength and a sense of humor, despite some bumps along the way. He really is a brave kid. 

“It's like people you see sometimes, and you can't imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it's somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can't talk. Only, I know that I'm that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium. To me, though, I'm just me. An ordinary kid.

Part of what helps August get through this first year of school is that August makes a couple of really good friends and a family that loves him. 

“no, no, it's not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. and the universe doesn't. it takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can't see. like with parents who adore you blindly. and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.

The book does a good job of examining how August's condition affects not only August but those around him as well.   A friend caves under pressure and ends up saying some hurtful things about August. Unbeknownst to this friend, August overhears him. The sister feels torn because she loves her little brother but wants to be known as her own person. She wants to create her own identity apart from constantly being known as the girl who has the brother with the deformed face. As a result she wants to keep her family life as separate from life in her new highs school as possible. The conflict you see in the characters is very real. It is something we can all relate to. 

Over all I love the message of kindness, and thoughtfulness. We should always be careful about judging others. 

“The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they've died. They're like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they're made out of the memories people have of you.” 

In my opinion this is a book with a message that should be celebrated and that should be read even though it examines a very complex issue in a more simple way.  I do love this thought: “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” 

How great would that be? 

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